Michigan needs term limits and more Citizen Legislators!

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief. 

-Edmund Burke 

  • Legislators Threaten Term Limits Repeal - but DeRoche pledged to save term limits 
  • New Rasmussen "Term Limits" Poll Released March 27, 2008 shows strong support
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger Embarrasses Term Limits Opponents March 21
  • Term Limits  Myth of "Experience" Debunked by independent study Feb 25
  • Why Politician's Hate Term Limits 
  • The Awesome Advantage of Incumbency 
  • Jack Hoogendyke tells "Trojan Horse" PTL promoters " Don't Touch Term Limits"
  • Term Limits Pledge for 2008 Legislative Candidates Released  

 "Term Limits" Poll Released March 27, 2008 shows support still deep and wide

Pulse Opinion Research - Michigan

Survey of 500 Likely Voters on March 20, 2008

1.   In 1992 Michigan voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution that limits state senators to two terms and state representatives to three terms.   If the vote on the term limits amendment were held today, would you vote for term limits or against term limits?

66% Vote for term limits
28% Vote against term limits
6% Not sure


  • 66% would vote for 3 term plus 2 term limits all over again. (69% women - 65% liberals - 59% dems - rich and poor over 70% - Republicans 74%) Only 28% said they would not vote for 3 term plus 2 term limits.
  • 55% government workers would vote yes to impose term limits, and 57% said they would vote against repeal. 
  • Only 29% said they would vote to repeal term limits and only 31% said it was a good idea to give up term limits even if it was in return for a Part-time legislature. 
  • Only 27% said they would be less willing to vote yes for Part-time legislature proposal that did not eliminate term limits. 
  • Get the all Polling Data/Tabs Here

Arnold Schwarzenegger Embarrasses Term Limits Opponents

 To fully appreciate the quote below, please try to read it aloud using your best Arnold voice impression:

Arnold Loses His Strudel 

March 21, 2008

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer likes term limits. He explained why in an interview with the LA Times.

Says Arnold: “[O]riginally I felt very strongly that it was the greatest thing ever done. Because I despised the idea of guys being so locked in and safe in their positions, staying up in Sacramento and doing their deals and all this stuff.

“Now I’ve been there for four years and I say to myself, ’Oh my God, this is a disaster.’. . . It’s going to hurt the state, because we have to start all over again, getting acquainted with these new people coming in. . . . John Burton, whom I’d just gotten used to working with; he used to bring me delicious Austrian coffee and appelstrudel. Now he’s gone.

Gee, competitive elections are so inconvenient, aren’t they? With the people coming and going and all this stuff? Not to mention the strudel crisis.

U.S. Term Limits president Phil Blumel observed: “Yes, Arnold ’learned’ the lessons most politicians learn after a while in office: that government is the solution not the problem and that staying in office is better than leaving it.”

Blumel is right on. And I’m happy to report that California citizens ignored Arnold’s recent brainstorms and his endorsement of Prop 93, a devious term limits extension measure, defeated in February by Golden State voters. If the governor is still sad, well, maybe somebody can bring him some jelly doughnuts as a consolation prize.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

 Study Debunks the Myth of "Experience"

Term limits opponents (generally legislators and lobbyists) claim that Term Limits puts legislators out of office before they can get the experience needed to do the job, and that the current legislature lacks "institutional knowledge" as a result. Award winning independent journalist Bill Ballenger has shown with empirical evidence there never was such a thing as "institutional knowledge" in the legislature. Rotation in office has been the norm in Michigan's history, and now we are back to normal.  

Read article republished with permission Michigan Term Limits 2008.PDF

Term Limits 2008 - Inside Michigan Politics  Feb 25, 2008, Vol XI, NO. 31 

Back in the decades before term limits day you could not move legislation without first kissing the ring of a Montgomery or Jacobetti; the seniority system let these supermen run the legislature with iron fists. Now every district has real representation, so now in the absence of virtual dictators it is a little tougher to gain an actual consensus. Thats democracy.

Term Limits Pledge for 2008 Legislative Candidates Released

Questions to Ask a Term Limited Legislator (or Candidate who is seeking a first term) about the need to the need to gain on the job experience to be effective, 

  • Ask any term limited legislator making that claim whether they are saying they not qualified to serve when they asked for your vote the first time? 
  • Ask them whether they stand for elimination of presidential term limits.
  • Ask whether they intend to sign the Don't Touch Term Limits pledge.  

 Why Politician's Hate Term Limits          

    Term limits for a politician is like a curfew, or bedtime, for a child. A bedtime is a wholesome discipline that fosters good habits and better behavior, but kids just can’t see past their desire for the power to stay up and stay in control. They resent their bedtimes, and the parents who impose them, but parents know what’s best for their family. Setting limits sets boundaries.

    Lawmakers are flawed human beings like the rest of us. ‘We the people’, the parents of our government, imposed term limits as a check on unbridled ambition that  results from putting power in the glass jar of human frailty. Before term limits, incumbent lawmakers were only rarely challenged in a competitive elections. Term limits are based on the idea that the fox can never be trusted to guard the chicken coop, and that the human desire to keep power once power is achieved is so strong that only a prohibition of perpetual power could control human the basic instinct of human ambition.  

-permission to reprint granted with condition that you attribute to www.DontTouchTermLimits.info source

Philosopher Edmund Burke said of this, "Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief.

The Awesome Advantage of Incumbency

In the decades before term limits entrenched incumbents won re-election at rate of 97%. 

Term Limits opponents glibly say we already have term limits: Their called elections. 

A 97% re-election rate is not a natural re-election rate by anyone's standards! They get lots of advantages as incumbents, which combine to prevent open competitive elections.

  • Incumbents can direct the news cycle by introducing bills or just calling a press conference. 
  • Incumbents have the bully pulpit and the franking privilege which lets them send out free mailings to voters touting their successful and hard work.   
  • Special interest lobbyists focus campaign cash on incumbents, and in the decades before  term limits lobbyists (and publishers) developed very cozy long-term relations with long term lawmakers. This was an expensive undertaking, but it really paid off in the old days because of the money special interests could make off favorable legislation. Special interested were vested in the perpetuation of the power of their legislative “allies”. This symbiotic relationship put all the inside players in secure positions of power, wealth, and prestige.
  • Campaign finance laws were enacted as window dressing appeared on the surface to thwart the dangerous effects of self-perpetuating concentrated power, but campaign finance laws were written by incumbents for the benefit of incumbents and left plenty of carefully crafted loopholes so that Big Business and Public/Private Sector Unions could still maintain their influence in Big Government.
  • From 1967 to 1990, in 1,210 primary contests for the Michigan House, only 28 incumbents lost; in the same number of general elections, just 32 incumbents lost. During the same years, in 190 primary and 190 general elections for the Michigan Senate, only 10 and 6 incumbents, respectively, lost their renomination/reelection bid.  Source

Jack Hoogendyke tells "Trojan Horse" PTL promoters " Don't Touch Term Limits"

I wanted to post this letter that was sent to me regarding Rep. Jack Hoogendyk’s stance on Part time Legilature/Term Limits.  It was written to the promoters in Kalamazoo that are heading up the PT Legislature drive that eliminates term limits in a crossed-out provision of the measure. Hoogendyke does endorse the genuine Part-time legislature petition drive, which contains no tricks or loss leaders, and does not touch Term Limits.

From: Jack Hoogendyk

Date: Fri, Mar 21, 2008 at 2:24 PM
Subject: Don’t touch term limits
To: Justin VanderArk, “Dodge, Marty”

There has been some confusion recently about my position on a Part-time Legislature. As background, I introduced an amendment to the Constitution requiring the legislature to meet part-time each year. My proposal did not touch term limits. As a three-term legislator with experience in the business, I am firmly convinced that the best legislature is one that comes to Lansing in the Spring, and goes home in the Spring. I further wholeheartedly believe that term limits work. It invites men and women from all walks of life to take a turn serving in Lansing, and then going home.

The State board of canvassers has approved ballot language for two separate proposals for a part-time legislature. There is a major point of difference between the two proposals. “Don’t Touch Term Limits”, the Part-time legislature proposal, leaves term limits in place. “Turn Michigan Around” is a part-time proposal that ELIMINATES term limits, something I do not support.

For some unexplained reason, the news media gave me credit for getting the ballot language approved on both proposals when, in fact I did not take part in either effort. While I am flattered to receive this kind of press coverage, I need to make clear that I support the effort to create a part-time legislature in Michigan. I do not support the elimination of term limits.

Jack Hoogendyk
Candidate for US Senate

Coping with Term Limits 

See this study, with an subtle anti-term limits slant, from the NCSL (National Counsel of State Legislatures)

How Term Limits Came To Be 

        The Term Limits movement started in 1980 and culminated in the 90’s as a reaction to the failure of campaign finance laws stop political power from achieving perpetual motion. Starting after the adoption of the new 1963 State Constitution, and peaking in the early 1990's, the confluence of a full time legislature, higher legislative pay, and increased levels of legislative staffing (government paid political operatives), led to an epidemic of incumbency. Most legislators were serving more than 4 terms. This was a drastic change from a  legislative body that had  traditionally been self-limiting at one or two terms.

     It borrowed from Presidential Term Limits imposed decades earlier, and from the first Article of Confederation of the United States centuries ago, when rotation in office was considered a given. While Term Limits was excluded from the final US Constitution, this was the result of an assumption that elected officials would be self-limiting because no one could afford the time away from their pursuits to stay in office very long. In fact, all US Presidents except Jackson and Roosevelt were self limiters.  

    They voted to impose term limits by a 59% landslide, and very few people outside the seat of political power regret that choice. Today polling shows a solid 66% would vote yes on term limits all over again. Taxpayers have an unlimited will to fight for this issue, and voters will punish any would-be career politician who dares to touch the new "third rail" of citizen-driven politics.

           Voters are tired of a self-perpetuating privileged ruling class of high salaried powerful politicians who legislate themselves pay raises (over $79,000) expense accounts (12,000) and lifetime retirement benefits (vesting after only 6 years service), with state pensions and medical.

    Legislators must submit to the will of the people whom they are supposed to serve, and stop trying to tinker with term limits. If they truly have the calling to serve, then they should expect more of themselves and become qualified experts in public policy and lawmaking before they ask for your vote, rather than claiming to need years of on-the-job training to get up to speed. If th ey really want to earn the people's trust, they should listen to our cry now: "Don't Touch Term Limits."

 -see www.PartTimeLegislature.com